Wool Buy 2017

Once again I had the opportunity to join Mid States Wool Company from Ohio on the Navajo reservation buying wool from the Dine people. This is the fourth year that I have been involved as a volunteer. We travel across the Navajo nation beginning at  Crown Point, and traveling on to Shiprock, Mexican Water, Tsaile, Pinon,  Kaibeto, Tuba City and finally Dilkon, over a period of 7 days. Each year more people have heard that we are coming to buy wool, and the number of sellers has increased dramatically. This year we filled 7 tractor trailers with wool and mohair. My motivation for joining this group has been to assist in bringing  a fair price to the Dine people for their fiber.  The logistics of the trip are quite complicated as lodging is scarce, distances are quite great and scheduling the tractor trailer pickups are challenging. Stanley Strode oversees all of these moving parts, and Felix Nez brings in workers from Dine College to help with the labor, and translating. Teddy and Lynn Varndell purchase mohair, and Peter Hagerty, with Peace Fleece, also purchases wool. Lisa Takata and I work the table, calculating the weights of fiber, and writing the checks from Mid States. Stanley grades each bag of wool as it comes in and many times one truck will contain 4 or 5 different grades/prices of wool. People have to wait patiently in their trucks in lines of up to 100 trucks for hours, as we go through the time intensive task of grading the wool, weighing it, calculating the final price, and writing the check. The beautiful smiles and warm handshakes we get at the end of each interaction is our reward for time well spent.

The following is an article from the Navajo Times the week we were there

http://navajotimes.com/biz/wool-buyers-come-people/

Students came to observe the wool buy in Pinon
Teddy Varndell and Jay Begay Shiprock AZ
the wool tower is unloaded from the truck in the morning for compaction of the mohair as it is purchased
Stanley Strode inspects every bag of wool that arrives


Peter Hagerty of Peace Fleece hand picks wool for his yarn

Shiprock AZ
Lisa Takata assists in paying the sellers a fair price for their wool
Jay Begay helps with all the various operations of the wool buy
Wool is graded, coarse, medium to fine, and anything in between

 

At Mexican Water Utah, wool was delivered in livestock watering tanks

 

Items on display at a trading post museum in Grants NM

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